An ideal tool for gene therapy would enable efficient gene integration at predetermined sites in the human genome. Here we demonstrate biased genome-wide integration of the Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon by combining it with components of the CRISPR/Cas9 system. We provide proof-of-concept that it is possible to influence the target site selection of SB by fusing it to a catalytically inactive Cas9 (dCas9) and by providing a single guide RNA (sgRNA) against the human Alu retrotransposon. Enrichment of transposon integrations was dependent on the sgRNA, and occurred in an asymmetric pattern with a bias towards sites in a relatively narrow, 300-bp window downstream of the sgRNA targets. Our data indicate that the targeting mechanism specified by CRISPR/Cas9 forces integration into genomic regions that are otherwise poor targets for SB transposition. Future modifications of this technology may allow the development of methods for specific gene insertion for precision genetic engineering.
DNA sequence data generated and analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and Source Data Files 1-4.
No external funding was received for this work.
- Jeffrey Essner, Iowa State University, United States
© 2020, Kovač et al.
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